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News from Baltic Country Holidays

Dobele is a town in the cultural region Zemgale, in the central part of the country on the banks of the river Bērze. The town has long standing apple cultivation traditions. The Latvian national insitute of horticulture has its orchard there with some 600 sorts of apple trees. The orchard is named after Pēteris Upītits, a prominent Latvian horticulturist and breeder. For this reason Dobele is known as the Latvian capital of apples.
The 4th Apple festival will be held in Dobele on October 7, 2017. It promises a variety of events and activities like apple tasting, a competition to find the biggest, the most beautiful and the heaviest apple, pressing apple juice and making apple jam with produce tasting, the umurkumurs – a traditional pole-climbing contest, awarding ceremony of the Apple Order, singing and dancing performances, craft and farmers’ market, and much more fun for adults and children alike. The Dobele Crafts House will host the exhibition of apples from Pēteris Upītis orchard. The orchard will be open for excursions.
 


This manual is aimed to help you discover rural destinations in South of Finland, Estonia and Latvia beyond traditional touristic routes. The tours and sites in this manual are based around small-scale accommodation, open farms, local producers, living traditions and sincere people. The people here have a close relationship with itsnature and annual cycle. Each season has its own specific activities like mushrooming, berry picking, collecting herbs, ice-fishing and different agricultural jobs as well as traditional and seasonal celebrations. The countries are a haven for the tourist who loves nature, respects traditions and would like to experience the countries and their cultures more deeply.

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We have published a handbook „How to open your farm shop”. It is aimed at home producers and other small entrepreneurs who are willing to open own shop and cut the way and costs of their produce to reach the market. The handbook introduces topics that will come up in the process of planning and creating a farm shop – from legislation to design of premises and marketing. Each topic is illustrated with practical examples and references where to find further detailed information. The handbook is available in Latvian, Estonian and Norwegian languages.

General handbook content structure in English
Latvian language version
Estonian language version
Norwegian language version

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The summer solstice in June 21-23 is one of the major Latvian summer festivities. Even convinced city people feel tempted to head out for the countryside and be a part of the overwhelming festive mood. Celebrations have to be prepared well in advance with special sort of cheese made, beer brewed, the festive place prepared, the house and yard decorated.  There are ancient rituals and beliefs that have to be carried out for fertility of people and earth, to repel evil spirits. How to celebrate – this is up to you. Some will prefer sitting by the fire, eating delicious Jāņu  cheese, drinking beer and singing songs with the traditional refrain Līgo, others would join the mystery and magic of ancient Midsummer rituals. To understand what this is all about read more about the Midsummer or Summer Solstice traditions and beliefs. Festive food is a significant part of the celebration with the specialty of the day – the Jāņu cheese. Get to know about its origins and meaning here, and feel tempted to enjoy Midsummer in the countryside!

 

The summer solstice events 2017 (LV).

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It’s time to head for the flowering meadows, gather wild flowers, make flower and oak wreaths, and get ready to celebrate Jāņi or Midsummer – on of the most important Latvian national festivities. How to do it? Shall we just sit by a bonfire or join some charismatic ritual practices? Here are ideas – we have collected information on events all over Latvia, from Jūrkalne in the West to Riga and from Riga to Balvi in the East, and we recommend to celebrate Jāņi in the countryside!
Our web site features a new section dedicated to Midsummer celebration and it shortly introduces the traditions, beliefs, festive food, especially, the Jāņu cheese: http://www.celotajs.lv/lv/c/wrth/traditions/events/midsummer.

 


05/30/2017

Did you know that EU is the world’s largest cheese market and there are over 240 varieties of cheese that are protected under EC schemes for protection of agricultural products and food staffs? Three quality logos attest to their specific traditions and qualities: the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) and the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG).

 Here you will find information on how 6 countries cooperate to promote cheese as a reason for travelling - going on a cheese tasting tour in home country and abroad. Touring routes, information about cheese festivals, types and sorts of cheese and cheese producers in Canary islands, Malta, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Italy and Latvia.

Find more information on Latvian „Cheese master” routes and cheese farms in our website www.celotajs.lv/lv/c/brand/cheese. Many of these participate in the Countryside Open Days event in May 27-28 this year. Check also the „Tasty cheese tour” website  http://www.tastycheesetour.eu.


05/09/2017

The spring comes with warm sunlight, lots of outdoor activities and changes in seasonal menus. The countryside turns green with young tree leaves and grasses of all shades. People are eager to start the bicycling season as the countryside offers a variety of scenic cycling routes in forests, along the seashore and on quiet country roads. Adventurous people catch the moment while the water is high in rivers to indulge in kayaking.

Living close to nature, we know how to use its bounty for making invigorating meals that help to wake up after long winter. Latvians make tasty soups and salads using wild sorrel, young nettle and ground-elder. There are spring mushrooms in the forests like false morel.

 

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Latvia starts its way towards celebrations of the 100th anniversary in November 18, 2018. To get to know the country better, it can be explored by 7 special touring routes – the Routes of Latvia’s Statehood.  These routes allow you to learn about aspects of Latvia’s history, personalities, places and events that facilitated the establishment of the state and the emergence of its national identity. Full information about the routes: http://www.celotajs.lv/en/c/brand/lv100 .

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Sauna has an important role in Latvian culture. It restores the body in physical and spiritual terms. A sauna ritual is an adventure on various levels – healing and purifying the body, concentrating the emotions, learning about yourself, and even experiencing a positive change in one’s consciousness. Sauna rituals are offered by certified and experienced experts, and the rituals make use of gifts from the environment – branch and plant switches, scrubs and body masks from natural and local raw materials. Herbal teas are also offered. In spring time, invigorating sauna ritual can be supplemented by drinking fresh birch saps to restart one’s body and mind.

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In the countryside, bread baking traditions are still strong. There is a great variety of breads. Latvians cherish the old and special ways to make bread. Centuries old recipes and know-how are in favour. The dough is scalded in a trough, kneaded by hand and then lovingly shaped into loaves that are baked in a real wood stove on maple leaves. Many traditional farmsteads open their doors to tourists and invite them to witness the whole process and get involved preparing own loaf to take home. Nothing is tastier than a warm slice of bread with milk and honey served on a nice terrace among blooming apple ad cherry trees on a fresh and sunny spring day.